ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Protesting Too Much

SPOKESPERSONS of the government of India have been making loud noises over the US action in identifying India, together with Japan and Brazil, as a "priority country" for "unfair trade" investigations under the so-called Super 301 provision of the US Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. But then it has to be remembered that the elections arc only a few months away and the political pundits of the ruling party have evidently concluded that here they have a heaven-sem issue which can be tlogged to show what a stout defender of the national interest Rajiv Gandhi is and how unflinchingly he has been standing up to imperialist blackmail. Actually the situation posed by the US action is rather different from what the government's statements suggest. Also, it is interesting to note that what the government has been saying on the subject outside the country has not always matched its statements meant for domestic consumption. For instance, asked in Geneva on June 5 how India proposed to deal with the US move, finance minister ChavaiVs low key answer was that he was not in a position to say anything "since the matter has rot yet come before the cabinet1'. Similarly, the repeated declarations on behalf of the government that come what may India will not enter info negotiations with the US on this issue are really quite beside the point just now since, under the procedure prescribed by the US Act India-is not called upon to enter into any immediate negotiations with the US These loud proclamations that the government will not do something which it is not required to do in any case are in sharp contrast to how very quietly, without so much a.s a whimper, the government delivered itself bound hand and foot to the US at the Trade Negotiations Committee meeting in Geneva in early April on the vital issue of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

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